BOLO for God's Touch

 


I've been doing some work for law enforcement and now understand the term BOLO better. Have you heard it used? I have heard it on TV in shows like S.W.A.T.  It means "Be On the Look Out" for a Person of Interest (POI). For officers, it's while they're on duty driving or walking. For me, it means online while I sleuth through photos or videos. I'm looking for a face, a piece of clothing, a mannerism . . . 

With that term on my mind, a couple of paragraphs I read in some Christian books at bedtime struck a chord. Twice in the same week--different books--the authors suggested the reader "be on the lookout" for God's love, God's nudges, God's peace, God's winks. 

Since we are still sheltering in place for over a year now due to Covid-19, that's about how I live. It's hard to make plans, take steps, take risks and so on because the world is not our playground right now. Instead, we can choose to be on the lookout (BOLO) for the things God sets before our eyes and whispers into our ears. 

We are all learning lessons about ourselves, our family members, the way we do things, what affects us. We are seeing God in tiny things. We are given peace we don't understand. For me, the God nudges, are minute-by-minute rather than life phase by life phase. He nudges me to get up and go for a walk, to clean something, to cook a certain dinner, to call someone, to message another, to read a certain book, to get up and stretch, and so on. And I've resolved that all I do matters. Even the little stuff. 

Would it help you to BOLO for God's activity in your life?   

Lost in a Place Called There

 



I haven't written lately because I'm there. What is there? In a place of confusion. It's the type of place I didn't plan to go to. It's the place I tried to avoid. Maybe you're there too. 

My there includes a mixed up sleep schedule, crazy dreams, a house full of clutter with nowhere to go, lack of motivation, lack of writing  sales, and a diagnosis of prediabetes due to pandemic overeating of treats. 

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When the pandemic struck, I figured life wouldn't be that much different. I'd worked from a home office for years. What could be so different with a stay-at-home order?

But now--in my there--my daily life bears resemblance to what some joke is Ground Hog Day - a day that keeps repeating itself. It seems the most important task of my day is to have my coffee and decide what's for dinner.

Like most, I've done all the fun things. We've watched umpteen TV shows. I returned to decluttering. I went for walks. I wrote a book and published it under a pen name. Once the book was complete, I thought God might release us from the pandemic. That was not to be so. Things got worse. 



Though I started a shelter-at-home Facebook group to keep myself motivated, I couldn't go onto social media without also seeing annoying posts about the US election, conspiracy theories about Covid, and the like.

I stayed on high alert. My husband and I took to watching CNN--in my opinion, the only truth-telling news station in the USA. But many say they are the enemy. I watched for myself to vet it. I didn't agree with all shared, but enough of it spoke truth to my soul, God as my witness. 

But while they told the truth, millions of Americans were fogged into believing lies mostly spread by other networks. What an abomination! 

***********

Now, I'm Canadian. I don't have a stake in the US political scene. It was just humanly apparent that many were being deceived and I could do little about it. I wanted to scream. I was tempted to post the truth, but those misted would for sure argue. 

Daily updates became more upsetting each day with a president (who, imo, doesn't deserve that title) spinning lie after lie.  Many of my good Christian friends believed every word he said. It was saddening and maddening. There was no getting through to them. Their minds had woven some kind of weird theories that included prophecy and Christianity in the midst.  

I don't believe that is right. Churches were hosting the politicians. How deplorable! The mix of church and state should not be. I learned a new word this summer. The word "grift". It is when politicians use their platform to get money from naive followers. I saw believers being used and lied to, their money taken. 

I followed Canadian Fact Checker Daniel Dale. He spelled out just what was a lie and what was the truth of each party. Both had slipups, but the US president spewed more lies than Dale could keep up with. Unfortunately, as week turned into month, the outgoing president continued to blind the eyes of many of my very good friends. Trying to warn them only served to divide us. I could only pray. 

!!!&&==(((

I will not say I agree with everything the Democrats purport. But I have been able to discern enough to know that I feel God has chosen President-elect Biden to be a peace-maker and to redirect the country. He never stooped so low as to have a smear campaign. He's a gentleman and I pray my Christian friends will trust God in who He has put into place. 

I know Christians pray for the election. Why then do they have such a hard time accepting the results? 

Why can they not obey and support what God has decided? Why are so many using God's name in vain, to fight the truth?

The election has been the most legitimate one to-date. None of the conspiracy theories have had ANY evidence. The highest God-appointed courts of the land have thrown out the cases. God has put Biden in place. Deal with it!

Maybe you've stopped reading because you supported the outgoing president and you can't bring yourself to believe you were so wrong or that he might be evil. Let me tell you, he is evil, has been, has only used your beliefs for his own purposes while he faked being a Christian. You've been tricked. 

I hope and pray that you will ask God to help you shed the mind-control the enemy put upon you and that you will choose God's plan for your country

There, I said it. I needed to say this. I am tired of being a world watcher who has to constantly zip her lips to keep friends. 

***----***

Thank you USA for entertaining my husband and I during the pandemic. Thank you for opening our eyes. I didn't know so many ruffians and deplorable existed as what I've witnessed lately.

What we've witnessed is sad and disgusting. It added to our stress. We watched because so much of what we might have done or watched otherwise was shut down. The US news became dominant even here in Canada. 

So my prayer became and is that those buying into conspiracy theories will step back and look at all sides. The enemy is a great deceiver and he has deluded too many of my friends. He has caused too much division and stress. 

SEEK PEACE AND PURSUE IT

LOVE, NOT WAR

And now, post the January 6 insurrection, in the dark of winter, my sleep schedule is mixed up. My goals have shifted. 

My writing career seems to have come to a stop. Article sales have not been enough to buy a month of coffees. 

And so, again, I sense God is about to lead me to a new thing. But I've been there before--desperately seeking that new thing--conjuring up possibilities. Wondering if it's a paid job, a new purpose, or some kind of new direction. I cling to hope yet, inside, doubt clouds my mind. 

So here I am tonight, getting a lot off my chest, revealing some of my perhaps not-so-nice traits. Feeling lost in the claustrophobic space of my own four walls, wondering how to fill my time. I'm there.


 

Start a New Life Chapter

 

Ready to Write a New Chapter? Ready to Plant Some Seeds?

 


Do you find yourself often saying "I need . . . "

We have many needs. Some are real. We need good housing, food, water, clothing. We also need relationships, wisdom, and balanced mental health. 

Other needs are fabrications; you see a TV show and you covet what the actors are wearing, what they are doing, their fictitious relationships. 

Seeing fiction can do two things: inspire you or tempt you. 

Watching Christmas movies inspires me to decorate my own home. I personally am aware of the other side--the temptation side--but I wouldn't doubt some women might get caught up in assuming their spouse should be as handsome, loving, caring, and excited about Christmas as the TV character. It would be sad if a woman bought into the fantasy she has witnessed on a TV show and followed suit--leaving her spouse, let's say, for another man. Leaving her children behind because on TV she sees it happens all the time. 

Reality is different. What God wants for us is different than what the world projects. Choices should be decided after consulting God in prayer. If you really need more romance in your marriage, are you willing to pray about it and trust God to move on your behalf?

Write Your Next Chapter 

I've challenged the women in my Shelter-at-Home Facebook Accountability Group to consider each day as a chance to start again. I called it writing your next chapter. A new chapter can start at any time. 

With December leading into January, many will be making new plans and setting new goals. You can begin to do that now. 

Plant Seeds

The other challenge I've presented to the women is to plant seeds. Seeds are small. They take a season in dark soil before sprouting. Plants grow slowly.

If you were to envision what you feel God wants your life to look like in the days ahead, what seeds would you plant now?


My challenge to you is to ask God for a vision of your next chapter--whether for the rest of the month or the new year. Whether it is related to your health and fitness, where you are to use your skills, what you are to do to your home, or who you will be in relationship with. Ask for the vision and then ask for what seeds you should plant. 

God's revelation is often in the form of nudges, ideas, and revelations.  He will speak to you through scripture and other material you read. A friend may inspire you. Role models may display character traits you want to emulate. 

When you receive the nudge, ask the Holy Spirit how to translate it into a seed you will plant and cultivate.

Plant seeds in each life area as you gain clarity.


Fall's Arrived, Time for a New Schedule?


Before the pandemic, I felt something new was around the corner. I was hoping it would be a job outside the home or other new ministry adventure. 

Then the virus struck. Not only is no one hiring, but we are also sheltering at home. I lost my main social networks as many of you have - my gym and church. I feel as though I've taken a huge step backward. My mental health is on the line again.


********


My husband is working from home. I'm thankful he is still employed. But being together so much is suffocating. Can you relate?

We create habits easily. My new habit has been to be lazy. My husband grocery shops. We have fresh vegetables and fruit delivered to our door weekly. I order pizza once a week. I need a really good "why" to get me out of the house. 

Lately, due to the weather being cooler, darker, and due to me processing my mom's recent passing, I've been napping a lot. It feels good to be free to sleep in. It feels good to go back to bed. But I feel I'm falling into a rut.

This kind of routine is allowable for a time. But I don't want to become depressed. I want to be productive. I want to connect with others. I want to write and sell what I write. 

******

I've been on a quest to ask God what he wants me to do during this pandemic. Have you been on a similar quest? 

I'm asking God to reveal my next steps. Especially now that the good weather is passing, many of my summer garden chores are ending. The pool's been closed. I need new focus.

I'm sensing it's time to draw up a schedule for myself. I see myself at a picnic table outside, drafting a plan on a large sheet of paper. Will that happen? I don't know. I think it's going to rain tomorrow.


No matter if I draw up the plan or not, the hope I have is this: 

1. I work for God not man. My motivation should be to please him. 






2. God will enable me to do what he wants me to do. He will imbue me with supernatural energy and motivation at the right time. I don't have to muster it up myself. 

3. He will put me where he wants me when he wants me there. 

4. He will tell me what he wants me to do at the right time. 

5. He makes all things work together for my good. 


God really loves to keep up buoyed up. He loves to give us good gifts. He wants us to listen for his nudges. He wants us to learn to be content, to not worry, to not feel as though we aren't measuring up. 

I pray whoever is reading this will find some encouragement for their life too. Stay strong and encouraged!



The Sandwich Generation

 


I hesitate to write because I don't know if I have anything to offer. Thank you loyal readers who keep returning. 

We all know the pandemic is hard enough. We have lost so much. Life is not the same. Added to that, I lost my mom October 5. Her heart had been failing for years and finally it was time for her to leave this world. Her earthly journey was over. 

We did the funeral according to Covid regulations. My brother did a great job planning a service. 

So now I have another level of grief. In 2018 we lost my husband's mom. In 2019 I lost my 14-year old dog. We lost a couple of cats tragically in that time too. Then we were shutdown with the pandemic. It sometimes feels like too much--like we haven't finished grieving the last loss and a new one arrives. 

They call us the sandwich generation (whoever "they" are) because we grieve the loss of our role as mom while our children move on and we deal with elderly parents who eventually move on too. It's a hard time. I have had to take some days to just stay in bed and think or nap. My body and mind need time to process all the changes. 

They say we all handle grief differently. That is true. I don't always respect how my siblings seem to be handling it, but I have decided to detach as needed. I have found it important to set boundaries yet again. 

So in my grief and wanting to find normal, I turn to the Bible, to my devotional books, and to authors I trust. I read segments from about five books and ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me what I need to know. 

How about you? Are you in the middle of a sandwich too? Have you developed coping skills? Share your comments. 


Thoughts on Rest

The blog post below was written a year ago. Now in the pandemic, I'm finding I need a lot of naps. They say it is pandemic fatigue. At first, I thought it was my body still recovering from the last couple years of assisting my elderly dog or the hard gym workouts. I figured I'm making up for lost time. I don't know why I seem to need a lot of rest. I could have chronic fatigue. I've decided the reason why doesn't matter. Managing it matters. 

Since March 2020, my gym is closed and I have no where to go as we are sheltering-at-home here in Ontario, Canada. I'm getting my steps in with a lot of landscape gardening on my large property. I bought a FitBit (something I said I wouldn't do) and it is keeping me moving. 

Now, for thoughts on rest:





"It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep" (Psalm 127:2 ESV).


Today, I stayed in bed until 2 pm. When I do such, my husband often says, "I didn't disturb you because I thought maybe you needed the rest." 

Am I embarrassed? No. Do I think other women do this? Some may, others definitely would not. Women who work fulltime definitely don't do this. I work freelance so I can do this. 

Most recently, we'd been through a year of palliative care of our beloved dog. I had many nights of disturbed sleep due to her needs, restlessness, and my own worry about it all. We boosted her a lot as her legs began to fail, and my body grew weary of lifting her 73 pounds. My neck and shoulders bore the brunt. She's been gone a month now. Extra rest may very well be needed as my body and mind restore themselves. 




"For I will satisfy the weary soul, 







and every languishing soul I will replenish” 







(Jeremiah 31:25 ESV). 


I'd also developed tinnitus during the last few years. Rest seems to calm it. Today I have barely any. (Thank you, Lord.)

Make the Bed or Not?

Do you arise and make your bed right away? I pull up the blankets but don't necessarily do a complete bed-making.

My mother-in-law made her bed early each morning and it stayed that way until bedtime. She said she NEVER went back to bed. I know other women who say the same. But I often caught her napping in her chair.

One person I queried never went back to bed even when feeling ill. BUT, some of these people will nap on their lounge chairs, on the sofa, and so on and not admit to it. 

I prefer my naps in bed. 

Why Not Rest?

Why not rest? How do you feel about such? Do you feel guilty for resting? Do you feel it's about time to do so after raising a family or working fulltime?

Do you feel bad for going back to bed? Why should you feel that way? 

Are you able to get the rest your mind and body needs?

  

Don't Give Up Just Yet





Now more than ever, we are being challenged in our relationships. I noticed my Midlife Crisis books are still selling during this pandemic. Does that say something?


We certainly need new rules of engagement. Patience, kindness, understanding are needed. Tolerance is needed. Putting each other first works wonders. 

There are pressures from the news, from social media, from losing work, from having to work at home. The list is endless. The stress is great.


I've been told, many people are becoming reflective during this pandemic. They are looking up old boyfriends, they are writing memoirs, they are writing stories, they are considering if they really want to stay married to the person they are sheltering at home with. 


Let me put this out there. This is not the time to make life-altering decisions (in most cases). Remember you are on the same team. You are not enemies. Get back to that idea. Discuss what kind of team you want to be. Discuss rules. Discuss where you see yourselves headed. 


Where you disagree (for instance political parties), you may have to keep your thoughts to yourself. It's not worth breaking up your marriage over politics. 


In order to receive love, you may have
 to give it. You may have to cast your cares on God and ask him to fulfill your needs because he knows them best. You should ask for more patience and eyes to see your mate through God's eyes. Ask God to show you yourself through his eyes too because at these troubling times, there can be a lot of self-loathing.

To love your neighbour as yourself you must love yourself too.

 
Self Care 


Lots of people are talking about the need for self-care to make it through this Pandemic challenge. That includes taking deep breaths, meditating, praying, eating healthy, exercising, forest bathing. Self-care is one way to keep the tension down. 

Reading helpful devotionals or Bible verses will also help to keep you on an even keel. 


Many have commented how every day seems the same. One day flows into the next. I have found that myself. But, due to the pandemic, my complaining about not having a vacation has been quelled. I don't want to travel during this pandemic. 


Make the Days Different 


It can be helpful to your emotional health to make your days a little different. For instance,  maybe Sunday can be a day for reading, taking in an online church service, strolling, playing music, just simply making the day different.


Monday (aside from paid work) might be recuperation day, laundry day, housework day, article writing day, email cleanup day, client service day.


One night may be a movie night, favourite show day, crafting time. 


Give Your Day Structure 


To give your day structure, add in a few simple things. I turn on a hall light at dusk. It stays on as a nightlight until I get up in the morning. When I get up, turning off the light signals a start to my day. I also drink a glass of water and walk around my yard. Someone else might have a routine of fetching mail, making coffee or tea, watering plants...


A Few Empty Nest Thoughts During Pandemic


It's mid-July 2020. We are in the pandemic. Here in Canada, we are sheltering at home as much as possible only going out for essentials. 

Our rules tell us to form bubbles of people we will hug. They suggest that is our family/extended family. Imagine how my husband and I felt when our now married daughter informed us she and her husband had formed their own bubble--with friends. They're meeting with their own bubble trusting their bubble hasn't met up with COVID-19 anywhere. So when they last visited, no hugs. Distance. 

My daughter moved away from us quickly. When she was 17 we were moving from BC to Ontario. She decided she wanted to stay back where she could work at the church for pay. We rented her a dorm room in a Bible college residence. She would later fly to Ontario. Once she moved to be with us, she barely got to know the new house and went off to stay in a university dorm. 

In the meantime, we had her room renovated with a large window seat and spectacular shelves. We had promised to give her this window seated-bedroom in exchange for the hassle of moving. (Something she fought.)

Gone

We moved her into her dorm in Septemeber. So she hardly had time to be with us. She did come home every two to three weekends, though, and in the summer. 

I knew she missed friends in the summer. I knew the feeling. When I was her age, I hated the end of my first exciting year at college. She wasn't driving yet, so meeting up with friends was complicated. Her long-distance boyfriend broke up with her leaving her more miserable. 

Fortunately, I was able to help her find a summer job working at the local butterfly garden. I think it eased the depression I could see trying to wash over her, but not totally. 

She soon returned to school again, and was in and out of dorm rooms a total of five years, never returning home! 

Graduation 

I was devastated when she graduated school and took a job in a city three hours away. I don't blame her. She had moved on with her life. But I hadn't caught up. I hadn't made the break from her the same way she had from us. My mother's heart felt crushed at times.  

I was home with my husband and son (who also left to live in student housing). My son and husband are quiet. I missed the added estrogen in the house and the noise of a loud daughter. 

Then she married. 

Moving On

I joined a great gym where I made lots of friends my age. I guess I got my estrogen fix there. It was life-saving. But when the pandemic hit, the gym closed. A huge part of my "new life" had disappeared. It had been a gift from God and now it has been snatched away.

I'm hanging on emotionally as I'm sure all my readers are. None of us can make plans until there is a vaccine. It feels so punishing. I'm back at square one again--no kids at home and not much empty nest life beyond home due to the pandemic. 

How are you doing? Are you using your time well? Are you encouraging yourself? Are you still trusting that God is in control? Are you looking for ways to reach out in love to others?

We don't know what God has in mind. We must each look to him for our own clarity. God promises to guide us through storms. He gives good gifts to his children. I know well there are gifts in this self-isolating time. I trust he is preparing a new path for me in the coming days too. I trust he keeps depression at bay and gives new motivation. I'm in need of some just now. Are you?

Lord, we look to you as our source.
Grant us the motivation to get things done.
Give us goals to set that we can achieve safely during this pandemic.
Give us warm greetings from online friends or through phone calls. 
Restore us. Change us. Make us into the women you want us to be. Keep us safe. Keep our children safe. May we be pleasing to you. AMEN